She's been world champion on the road, the track and in cyclo-cross, but Marianne Vos needed a new challenge after her successful 2012 season on the road, where she won the Olympic gold and rainbow jersey. So she headed to the Cyprus Sunshine Cup Afxentia stage race to dabble in mountain biking and immediately found success.
After placing a close second in the opening day's time trial, Vos powered into the lead on stage 2 thanks to a long climb which allowed her to use her strengths.
Vos put nearly four minutes into the winner of the opening time trial, Slovenia's Blaza Klemencic, to take the overall lead in the race. She won the stage by 3:31 over Adelheid Morath and now leads the German in the standings by 3:43.
Formerly a Dutch champion in the discipline as a junior, Vos has put her focus into cycling's other disciplines since she joined the elite ranks in 2006, yet the win still came as a surprise.
"It’s pretty cool to win here. I didn’t expect to be so good," Vos said. Yesterday already was a surprise. "Of course, the big climbs suits me better than the downhill. I am really happy, that it worked out, incredible."
Vos made the first selection alongside Morath, Sabine Spitz, Katrin Leumann, Klemencic, Eva Lechner and Kathin Stirnemann before going away with Morath as they reached the final ascent.
The duo opened up a 30 second gap at the base, and in the steepest part of the climb Vos motored away from Morath.
"I could manage to take a gap. In the descent, I tried to stay in control, not to take any risk. But it’s hard, when you have such a long climb before."
Vos's Swiss teammate Fabian Giger (Blanco) took the lead in the men's race with a commanding stage victory over Jaroslav Kulhavy.